Hi - as other's have already mentioned, both Widex and Phonak have excellent BiCROS devices you could try. Audibel is Starkey - so you are already demoing that system. Although the device you choose is important, choosing the professional you will be working with is just as important, if not more so. Make sure you are working with an audiologist who you are comfortable with, who listens to you, and who you can trust. It is so much less about finding the "right" device and so much more about finding the "right" provider who will help you hear your best. Hope this is helpful!
I am single sided deaf, wear an Audibel A4 Platinum BiCros, and fit Audibel hearing aids. I previously wore a Widex Dream 440 BiCros system. Both are top of line systems I tried, and I vastly prefer my Audibel A4 Platinum to the Widex for hearing in noise especially, as well as functionality of the controls.
You mention that you are wearing the A4i Platinum - which is our iPhone hearing aid and is not available in a Cros system as of now. Are you wearing only in one ear and connecting with your iPhone or are you already trying the A4 Platinum BiCros system? The answer about what to do is very much dependant on which system you are trying. If you're using the iPhone connected hearing aid monaurally, I would definitely try the BiCros system because I've done very well with it and I've had a lot of success in fitting my single sided deaf patients.
I agree with what many others here have said in that Cros fittings are more difficult to get right and the skill of the practitioner is paramount. The skill of the practitioner, in my opinion, is more important than the brand of system you choose. I am confident that the Audibel brand will do a very good job if programmed correctly for you, it is a matter of how much experience does that provider have fitting BiCros systems? Is there another specialist in the office that might have more experience with that system? Also, ask them to utilize Audiology on Demand if the fitting is not meeting your needs in some way. Audibel has Audiologists with decades of experience available to remotely assist in these more difficult situations, so I would also ask about that before going through the hassle of returning and starting over with a new specialist/brand provided you like your existing specialist and you want to keep working with them.
Signia/Siemens has introduced their new Cros device that's compatible with their Binax/Primax hearing aids. After fitting Phonak for years because it was the best wireless solution, but putting up with their poor battery life, I switched to Widex in the hope it would be better. Sadly, despite it's better battery life, the Widex is clunky and the accessories are clunky. So, when Siemens, now Signia, said they were coming out with a Cros, I was thrilled. This is because Siemens has consistently been the most energy efficient devices out their and the most bomb proof reliable technology. I've fit three clients so far with the Signia and they are all quite thrilled with the performance. They all say, it's the best they've ever used.
YOU are in luck. Just this past year Signia came out with BiCROS. It is the best BiCROS I have ever fit. The battery life is so much better than the Phonak AND you can download a free app on a smart phone that allows you to see the addjustments you make for volume or programs. You don't need to use the app because there are manual buttons on the hearing instrument but the app makes it easier. This is an awesome product. You will need to find an audiologist that sells more than one brand. Audibel, Beltone, Miracle Ear and Avada really only sell the brand name on their store front. So go see an audiologist and ask for the Signa BiCROS.
If you can find an audiologist who has access to a variety of manufacturers, I'd see if they have demo instruments they could let you try. If they do, you'd be able to test drive 2 or 3 manufacturers and make an informed decision about which works best for your individual needs.
I agree with some of the other responses. Phonak and Widex are my go to systems for BICROS. Phonak will default to CROS pick up as soon as you put the devices on. With Widex you must push a button to activate the CROS. Other than that, the main differences are sound quality. I have had very positive feedback from patients using Phonak's Venture microchip, I have also had many reports of 'natural' and 'comfortable' sound quality from users of Widex Dream and Unique microchips. The final decision could likely be swayed by the practioner's familiarity of the product and ablity to adjust the devices to the individual's needs.
the problem with Audible is that it can only be programmed by an Audible account. It is a Starkey product that has a lock code in it If the office closes moves etc. you will have to find an office that sells Audible I feel Phonak has the best BiCros and can be adjusted at most any office since Phonak brand does not put lock codes in their hearing aids
Many people have mentioned the Phonak Cross II and I actually prescribe it myself. Just to let you know of other options Signia now has a CROS solution. I haven't tried it yet but I thought I would mention it. Wherever you go make sure you can trial it to ensure it is a good fit.
I am just going to ask a couple of questions or make observations. CROS and BiCROS fittings are 'special' not an everyday fitting and not every user can adjust to hearing with a CROS arrangement. Have you worn hearing aids before or is this your first venture. Is your bad ear truly a 'dead' ear (or non-aidable ear) or does it have hearing. In my experience, i have fit many people who were told that they had a 'dead' ear or non-aidable ear when in reality they had a substantial amount of hearing in that ear and did much better with a binaural fitting than with a BiCROS.
All major manufaturers offer CROS/BiCROS fittings. Audibel is a division of starkey so you are on trial with a Starkey hearing aid. In my opinion, a major factor is NOT the brand but the experience of the fitter.
You actually picked the best manufactured hearing bi-cros hearing aid. In prior years the only non-wired bi-cros hearing aid came from Phonak. This year Starkey came out with the best bi-cross hearing aids available. I have several patients wearing this bi-cros and are hearing better than ever before. Starkey Labs makes Audibel, NuEar, and Starkey aids. In my practice we only dispense Starkey and Siemens, our patients are hearing better and the hearing aids are more reliable.
I recently fit three people with the new Siemens CROS/BICROs with the Primax on the better ear and all three patients are very thrilled with the results. All were wearing other devices and can notice a significant improvement in the hearing from the bad side and can hear better in noise than ever before. On the plus side... the Siemens system also has much better battery life.
My first questions to you is: Did you get a second opinion about your state of hearinging? I often see people fitted with Cros when they still have residual hearing on the other ear. A Cros will not restore your bilateral hearing and will not restore your senss of direction. With a Cros, it is hard for one to function in a noisy environment because one will no longer have the benefit of binaural addition or binaural substraction. If you have had a second opinion already and it is proven that you have really no residual hearing whatsoever, then a Cros would be the way to go. All manufacture have their pluses and minuses, but overall, they all work well if they are programmed appropiately. The final decision rest with you on how you hear. If you think that your understanding improved with the set that you currently have, just stay with them.
As others have said, there are a variety of manufacturers that offer both CROS and BiCROS systems. Depending on your communication needs and hearing levels, a specific manufacturer may be required. What type of communication needs assessment was performed prior to your trial with the Audibel hearing aids?
Also, depending on your hearing levels and needs, you may also be able to consider a bone-anchored-hearing-aid (BAHA) and/or cochlear hybrid system.
To ensure you get all of your options, make sure your Audiologists is working with multiple hearing aid manfacturers and also can test, recommend, and follow-through with any BAHA and/or cochlear implant options.
Audibel is Starkey, and it is a great aid. The other great one is Widex, but I believe that the Starkey sound is better (I currently own a hearing aid business and I wear them too, so I do try different brands out to see how they work and sound) The only thing is that Audibel is propritatory, so only an Audibel store can program that aid. If for any reason they go out of business, you can take it to a hearing clinic and request that Starkey turns that circuit into an open platform for you so you can program it anywhere.
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